Annual Report 2023

Corporate Governance

Corporate practices applied in addition to statutory requirements

Code of Conduct and Volkswagen Group Essentials

The Volkswagen Group’s Code of Conduct is the key instrument for reinforcing employees’ awareness of responsible action and decision making. The Group’s underlying values and the foundation for its shared corporate culture are defined by the seven Volkswagen Group Essentials: responsibility, honesty, bravery, diversity, pride, solidarity and reliability.

Ethics, compliance and risk management

To foster trust in our Company as well as our products, services and innovations, it is essential that we act honestly and with integrity at all times. In all lines of work and all functions we therefore invariably make decisions that are in line with our corporate values, applicable national and international legislation, regulations and in-house voluntary commitments. This includes the following areas:

  • Integrity and compliance
    Adherence to statutory provisions, internal company policies, ethical principles and our own values in order to protect the Company and its brands.
  • Whistleblower System
    The whistleblower system is the central point of contact for reporting cases of rule-breaking by Group employees or by direct and indirect suppliers. This includes white collar crimes, acts of corruption, tax offenses, environmental offenses, human rights violations, infringements of antitrust and competition legislation, money laundering and terrorism financing, breaches of product safety and licensing regulations, and serious breaches of data protection.
  • Business and human rights
    Volkswagen fully recognizes key international conventions and declarations, particularly the International Bill of Human Rights and the Fundamental Conventions of the International Labour Organization (ILO). We align our business activities with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UN Global Compact), which represent crucial pillars for our actions.
  • Anti-Corruption
    The Volkswagen Group has a zero-tolerance policy on active or passive corruption. This is anchored in both the Group’s internal Code of Conduct and its Code of Conduct for Business Partners.
  • Risk management and internal control system
    A comprehensive risk management and internal control system (RMS/ICS) helps the Volkswagen Group deal with risks in a responsible manner. The organizational design of the Volkswagen Group’s RMS/ICS is based on the internationally recognized COSO framework for enterprise risk management (COSO: Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission) and can be accessed on the COSO website. Uniform Group principles are used as the basis for managing risks in a transparent and appropriate manner.

Voluntary commitments and principles

The Volkswagen Group has committed itself to sustainable, transparent and responsible corporate governance.

We align our activities with the principles, recommendations and suggestions of the German Corporate Governance Code. We coordinate our sustainability activities across the entire Group and have put in place a forward-looking system of risk management and a clear framework for dealing with environmental issues in a future-oriented manner, for employee responsibility and for social commitment across our brands and in the regions in which we operate.

Voluntary commitments and principles that apply across the Group are the basis and backbone of our sustainability management. These documents are publicly accessible on the Volkswagen Group’s website in the section entitled “Sustainability.”